Director: Joel Coen Run Time: 97 min. Release Year: 1984
Starring: Dan Hedaya, Frances McDormand, John Getz, M. Emmet Walsh, Samm-Art Williams
This razor-sharp modern film noir, the first film by Joel and Ethan Coen, introduced the brothers’ inimitable black humor and eccentric sense of character, a sensibility that has helped shape the course of contemporary American cinema. Deep in the heart of Texas, a sleazy bar owner suspects his wife of having an affair and hires a private detective to confirm his suspicions—only to have the crosshairs turned back on himself. Playfully shot by Barry Sonnenfeld and featuring a haunting score by Carter Burwell and a cunning performance by Frances McDormand, Blood Simple was a career-launching film for this ensemble and the first articulation of the precision of style that has defined the Coens’ work ever since.